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    23rd November 2006

    Congratulations, Happy Thanksgiving, and Remembering Two Years Ago

    Frist and foremost: Congratulations to Ryan Schreiber whose marriage proposal was accepted by one of my best friends ever, Miss Sarah Steen. You’ve got a good one Mr. Schreiber. And congratulations also to Sarah Steen who is recently engaged to Mr. Ryan Schreiber. Sarah, clearly I don’t know Ryan as well as you, but I think that he is one of the most humble and genuinely concerned and caring people I have ever spent time around – and I can tell that you make eachother very happy. This is a very good thing.

    Secondly, Happy Thanksgiving to all out there who celebrate such holidays. I hope you found some turkey somewhere and were able to enjoy time with family and/or friends. I hope that you are able to be thankful on some level for what it is that you have.

    And Finally, yesterday – Wednesday – marked two years since I was in a car accident that nearly killed me and left me changed forever. I didn’t even think of it until my sister reminded me yesterday evening. It’s funny because I missed the whole dramatic even back then while my family was having the hardest part of it watching me struggling to survive. So I feel a little funny about this anniversary date, but perhaps my family feels it even more so.

    I’m glad I’m still alive and I hope that with what’s left of my life I am able to help make and see some significant changes for those around the world who are suffering unduly or injustly, who are living in poverty of one kind or another, and who live with pain from the many physical and non-physical ailments that can cripple people. Sounds like a lot to do, but maybe all of you guys out there can help me.

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    21st November 2006

    how can i say it all?

    Every year the weekend before Thanksgiving the national collegiate cross country races take place for the different divisions. I had been to the previous four championship meets in Minnesota, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Ohio. This year the meet was in West Chester, Ohio (near Cincannati) just five minutes from where the parents of David Rubush (a college housemate become Coloradoan) live. Dave was going home for the week for Thanksgiving and so he was going to get to be at the Division 3 meet where all of my college comrades would be running for Calvin or cheering on Calvin’s runners. I have a lot of love for Calvin XC but I wasn’t sure that heading out to the meet was something that I could afford to do – financially, time wise with school, or sleep wise.

    My friends Brett Wilson and Carson Bruns run for Luther College, and Brett had been having a good season – not great – until the last two meets when he busted out and made Luther’s top 7 and earned a trip to the national meet. When I found this out a week ago it made me look at place tickets and think about going out, but I was unconvinced.

    I had to finish an assignment for school that I had put off until the last minute and then there were a thousand other things that I needed to do…

    But on Wednesday afternoon I bought a plane ticket. For Friday morning. If I recall correctly (and I do) the last time I wrote on this site I noted that I needed to get in some trouble or have an adventure, and so here I give you the story of my adventure:

    On Friday morning my mom and I left my house a bit after 6am and she dropped my off at DIA. I flew to Minneapolis/St. Paul; then I flew to Chicago. Katie Anderson is Dave’s girlfriend and she lives in Chicago. I knew that she would be driving down to Ohio to see Dave over the weekend and so we made arrangements the night before and Katie’s mom picked me up and brought me to Katie’s workplace (V3 – the vision to transform with excellence!) and then Katie and I drove from Chicago to Cincinnati, ariving a few minutes before midnight Eastern Standard Time.

    There we arrived at the Rubush house to find something like 47 college-aged or recently-out-of-college-aged people with Calvin XC connections – all of them staying over! The Rubushes were amazing hosts and fed us with all kinds of things that were wonderful and delicious. The facilities for sleeping were more than adequate; or course with that many people staying over there was not as much sleeping happening as there might have been. (There were about half as many on Saturday night – less people but still a fair number of guests…)

    Here is the saddest part of the story: David missed his flight on Friday afternoon and didn’t actually make it to Ohio until Saturday afternoon – after the meet had been run. It really was one of the more dissappointing pieces of news I have recieved in recent memory. It felt like I had just been turned down for a job I really wantd or something like that. Dave recovered nicely and was able to enjoy a day with Katie and other friends.

    The meet was on Saturday morning at Voice of America Park, and the course was the biggest mud pit I have ever seen. Clearly a hassle for runners – and clearly a detriment to wheelchair users. Unfortunately, for one wheelchair user, the mud was not the most significant limiting factor on Saturday. Drew Wills was there along with Jeanie to watch their son Stephen compete for Williams college. Drew’s chair had been damaged during their flight. It’s hard to say how it happened, but the effect it had was that one of his wheels was not locked in and so he had to keep checking to make sure that the wheel wasn’t slipping out. I like what Jeanie said about how she should have told the airline that it was like breaking her husband’s legs… It might sound like an extreme comparison, but if anyone else got off the plane and was no longer able to walk the airline would be in pretty big trouble.

    As for the races themselves? I could say a lot about the performance of both the Calvin mens and womens teams as well as Luther’s guys, but I’ll keep it short: The Calvin men won with 37 points. The guys tood 2nd, 5th, 12th, 16th, 17th, 31st, and 51st. The top 35 are honored as All-Americans, which makes 6 for Calvin. The women’s team took third place. They were just 5 points behind first place Middlebury and 4 points out of 2nd place – but for a team that had been consistently ranked 6th or 7th and had been beaten at their regional meet the week before, this was an outstanding performance. There were three All-Americans from the women’s side with 6th, 13th, and 20th.

    Congratulations to all the runners – those who were running top-7 as well as those who toiled alongside them all season long – and to the coaches as well! Brian and Al are undoubtedly two of my heroes for a number of reasons – and they should both be applauded for their excellent speeches at the team dinner later that night. It would be difficult to find two men who do as much as they do and are as humble as they are.

    Sunday I went to church with Dave and Katie and hung around the Rubush house in the afternoon (I actually sent in some school assignments online) and then Katie and I drove back to Chicago, where I slept on the futon in her apartment and enjoyed banana-bread-with-chocolate-chips which here roomate Sarah had created. During the drive I called my cousin Lisa, who also lives in Chicago, to see what she was doing the next day because my flight wasn’t leaving until 10:10pm. Fortunately for me, she didn’t have much planned.

    Monday morning, Lisa came and picked me up at Katie’s apartment and we cruised downtown where she gave me a tour of Millenium Park. The last time I was in Chicago it was still under construction. We grabbed some lunch downtown and then headed out to North Park where she is a seminary student. We hung out variously around campus and at her apartment and then went to visit here friend working at the health center attached to Swedish Covenant Hospital. While at the hospital we figured that we should probably look up my cousin Karen because she works in the lab there. Unfortunately we had just missed her and couldn’t reach her by phone.

    So we went back to Lisa’s apartment and I changed her guitar strings and watched Elf while she packed for a trip to California where she is in a friend’s wedding. Lisa was about to leave for a meeting after which I was going to hit the L and ride out to O’Hare when Karen called. She came over and we went out to a restaurant called “Yes” for Thai food. It was amazing and a joy to catch up with another cousin. After dinner she dropped me off at the airport and I waited for my flight.

    Now I have to say that I love flying, even though it can pretty uncomfortable, especially now that I have no buttocks (I used to have very little of these, but now I have even less). And I love when the people sitting around me are talkative. In this respect I also had a very successful trip. On the way out I sat next to Paula, and we discussed a number of areas of Christian ethics, all stemming from some comment about Ted Haggard. On the way back I was privileged to meet Anisha, who currently resides in Denver but originally hails from Nepal. I must say that we had a most extraordinary conversation convering life in Nepal and the United States and then religion (she was interested in the fact that I had studied religion in school) and what the differences are between religions, especially the one to which I myself adhere.

    Not to forget anybody who ought to be thanked (I’m sure I will anyway), it should be noted that Loren picked me up at the airport – a job which cousin Lisa predicted he would have, being the fiance and all…

    An incredible couple days… I enjoyed the hospitality of many and was able to see a bunch of good friends from different periods of my life. It really starts my Thanksgiving week off well, reminding me of how much I have to be thankful for. And I am thankful: Thank you Lord for creation! for all the wonderful things that you have created for us; you made us, you provide for our needs, and you give us good things to do; help us to see all of the ways that we are blessed this week and help us to express our gratitude well in loving you, the one true and living God, and loving the people around us in all of the ways we are able!


    13th November 2006

    Looking out the window…

    Sometimes here in Colorado when I look out the window as the sunlight is fading, and the air is still; and I realize that I can see things a long ways away – like all the way across Denver from the Seminary library, or the various features of Long’s Peak, but especially the intricate details of the trees in people’s yards several blocks or several miles away. There are so many leaves on every tree, and now that all the leaves are going I can see that there are so many branches on those same trees. And there is nothing that I can do but be thankful for life and for contact lenses and wish that I was somewhere out there on the side of a mountain or hanging out with some good people in someone’s yard – anywhere but in here on my computer, where my vision is being corrupted every moment I stare into my monitor; and where I waste hours of my day sometimes on the internet reading about stuff that will never really change my life and watching a few of the millions of videos on youtube that I never knew existed until my brother Eric told me that it was the site of the future.

    This week I had a small revelation of grace in my life (this makes two posts in a row with spiritual content – which means it’s time for me to have some adventures and get in trouble…). In contemplating the amount of physical healing that I have experienced since spinal cord injury and the amount of function I had gained, I realized that I had gained just enough function to make it through each of the situations I have been placed in thus far. I was wondering what commuting to school in Denver would be like during the winter and realized that a year ago I wouldn’t have been able to do what I’m doing for commuting right now. When I stay at my aunt and uncle’s each week , there are a few steps to get into the house. Because I have the ability to stand and balance against the wall or the door I can pull my wheelchair and all of my stuff up those steps with me. Last fall I would not have been able to do that at all. I guess if God wants me to be at school in Denver this winter, he will provide grace for that, too.

    The other small revelation of grace came at the Loveland High School Fellowship of Christian Athletes retreat on Saturday. I had the wonderful opportunity to hang out for the afternoon, do a little teaching, and play guitar for some worship time. Honestly, I am sure that I enjoyed being up there more than any of the student-athletes enjoyed or benefited from my teaching, but I’m ok with that. I was going to talk about 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11 and felt like about half of what I wanted to get to was prepared; but there was a part of it that was lacking something and I didn’t have time to really wait on the Lord for as much undestanding as I wanted to. So I prayed throughout the morning that God would teach me something new about the passage even he taught all the students something new about it also.

    And he did teach me something new. As I was talking I better understood how the passages fit together than I had while I was preparing. Because I finally understood that as I was doing this thing, I’m not sure I communicated it very well – but I did get to communicate it to some people from church yesterday.

    Now the light has faded and it is dark outside, and I know that I have to get back to the study of Ephesians 5:5-14 that I’m supposed to turn in tomorrow, but I really wanted to share a little bit of light (the kind that paints the clouds in Colorado as the sun sets) and a little bit of revelation (the kind that builds my “faith muscle”) with whoever might be reading this little website these days…


    6th November 2006

    How is it with your soul currently?

    This was the question for a threaded discussion for one of my classes this week. I’ll give the full question and my full reply in a few lines, but first some preliminaries:

    This fall has been really hard for me. There were some things that I brought upon myself that made life less enjoyable (think in the realm of male-female relationships and being extremely unmotivated for school) but there have also been some things that are sort of out of my control. I have missed running more this fall than I had in the year and a half previous. I think it is because fall in Colorado is so wonderful and all the smells and sights remind me of all the sweet places I used to run. I find myself really wondering what God’s plan is for me and whether it includes significant physical healing on this side of the dirt – that is, will I have to wait for a resurrection body to run again? (And resurrected, will I care whether or not I can run?)

    It has also been difficult living at my mom’s place again. It is really good sometimes, especially to be around and hang out with family and watch tennis matches, but it is also a bit frustrating to me sometimes – mostly because of my own lack of discipline and inability to get stuff done around here. I’m learning many things about myself in this situation.

    Commuting is also not my favorite thing in the world, but the hospitality that I have received when I stay in Denver from my uncle and aunt, Bill and Becky, has more than made up for the inconvenience of commuting. And I have found that I can pray fairly well while driving, which has been a wonderful boost to my spiritual life and well being (though I have a hard time doing it while in bumper to bumper traffic).

    All this leads to the question from my class’ online discussion: Does your life center around knowing, being, or doing? Do you sense a healthy balance? How is it with your soul currently? What is its condition? (Skim through the Psalms for a wide variety of “soul conditions”.)
    And here was my response:

    This is an awkward threaded discussion because…

    I don’t think anybody really wants to respond to what other people say about the condition of their souls – and because we really don’t like to just tell everybody about what is going on inside us.

    Right now, I want to say that I’m feeling like Psalm 88 (especially the NIV translation) and then tell everyone to go read it – but I’m really not.

    I’m not sure which Psalm I relate to right now, but in the past year the ones that have been most meaningful have been 42-43, 71, and 73. 42-43 describes how the psalmist used to go joyfully praising God with the people of God and how he misses being part of the worship. I have been playing music and leading worship in churches since I was 13. When I was about that same age I was introduced to a church where it was acceptable and encouraged to move around and dance while singing praise to God and I found this to be a way in which I could really express my love. So when I became a paraplegic two years ago there were a lot of changes in how I am able to make music and lead worship and dance. It took a while for me to be comfortable with myself and during those time (and still) I felt a bit like the psalmist, who longed to join in with the people going to the temple.

    Part of Psalm 71 goes like: from youth you have taught me/ still I proclaim your wondrous deeds/ so even to old age and gray hairs/ do not forsake me/ til I proclaim your greatness/ to the generations – and this has been my desire.

    Psalm 73 begins:
    Surely God is good to Israel,
    to those who are pure in heart.

    But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
    I had nearly lost my foothold.

    And then it goes on to describe how the psalmist sees other people prospering – especially wicked people – and he wonders why he’s trying to be good when it doesn’t seem to help. Finally at the end he says, when I was talking this way about you, God, I was a brute beast…Now that I see your righteousness I understand the fate of such people…

    And then this gem:

    Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

    My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

    And now? How is my soul? When the question was asked the other week, are we dry or is our cup full, I felt like probably the better question would be an active one. I have been dry but my cup is filling up right now. It is really good to be consistently involved with a church and have good friends from that church checking up on me to make sure I’m making it. And it is good to be part of a school where they tell you that they are more concerned with our spiritual formation than our GPA – though I’m pretty sure that as my spiritual health improves my GPA will also.

    I’m learning a lot about myself and my past and my father and what pieces of generational sin have been passed down from him into my life – and dealing with it. I’m learning to be open and honest about my most significant struggles (the recent story of Pastor Haggard tell us of what can happen when we stop telling people when we are tempted or have fallen).

    I’m regaining identity. I think that I have been wandering a lot for the last two years. It is hard to have such a large part of your identity screwed up (I was a high school and college track and cross country runner and an avid mountaineer [hopefully I can climb the half of the 14ers I haven’t in new creation, right?]). I still have parts of that in my identity, but I’m really having to find my identity in something different. We all are trying to identify with someone or some group and I’m dealing with my own needs for this (everyone out there should read Donald Miller’s Searching for God Knows What to see how much all of us really desire something or someone to tell us who we are and where we belong).

    Am I knowing, being or doing? Yeah, probably. I would like to do more doing for certain, but I guess I usually underestimate what I’m doing already (you should read what I said on my website last year about being an “inspiration” to people

    Oh, and I will try to be nicer to Mark in my Ephesians class this week…

    Copyright 2005 by Daryl Holmlund - All rights reserved.